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Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Wednesday, 18 August 2010 11:28 UK

Graeme Smith to reduce South Africa captaincy workload

South Africa captain Graeme Smith
Smith is one of the longest-serving captains in Test cricket

Graeme Smith has announced he is to stand down as captain of South Africa in both forms of limited overs cricket.

He has quit the Twenty20 post as of now and will give up the 50-over job after the 2011 World Cup but will still play for both teams and lead the Test side.

"I am going into my ninth season of international cricket - eight as captain," the 29-year-old said.

"It's my aim to play for another five or six years and I can only do that if I give up some of my responsibilities."

Smith said he believed there were "several players" capable of succeeding him, and would offer advice on who should be his successor, but declined to name any preferred candidate.

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He also said he was giving notice of quitting the one-day role next year to allow time for a smooth succession.

"It is absolutely vital that we maintain continuity in a World Cup season and this major competition also concludes the current cycle of limited overs cricket," he said.

"I also feel that making the announcement now will provide the time and development necessary to ensure a smooth transition.

"I remain passionate about the captaincy of the Proteas and after the World Cup I will continue to lead the Test team with pride and will continue to be available for selection in all formats of the game.

"Someone said to me the other day that I had been captain of South Africa through my whole 20s and that came as a shock to me. I hadn't thought about it.

"Making the decision was never easy. It's been such a large part of my life, (but) in many ways I'm at peace with it."

Smith became South Africa's youngest skipper at the age of 22 when he succeeded Shaun Pollock after the 2003 World Cup.

Under his captaincy, they have a record of 37 wins from 77 Tests, with 22 defeats and 18 draws - with perhaps their greatest achievement a 2-1 series win in Australia in 2008-09.

Overall, Smith has played 86 Tests, 154 one-dayers and 27 T20 internationals and scored more than 13,000 runs, including 29 centuries.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola paid tribute to Smith's contribution, and said he still had plenty to offer the team.

"He took over the Proteas' captaincy at a young age, and has faced incredible challenges, which he has overcome," he said.

"I support whatever decision he makes, because I know that he is doing what is best for him as a cricketer, and what is best for South African cricket. Graeme still has a lot to achieve in his cricket career and CSA backs him 100%".

South Africa have Twenty20 and one-day series coming up against Zimbabwe and Pakistan in October, before India arrive for a tour which includes three Test matches and five one-day internationals.



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see also
South Africa wrap up series win
29 Jun 10 |  Cricket
Smith helps SA make strong start
18 Jun 10 |  Cricket
SA edge past Windies in thriller
03 Jun 10 |  Cricket
SA defeat Windies off last ball
30 May 10 |  Cricket
Dynamic England beat South Africa
08 May 10 |  England
SA secure series win in Australia
30 Dec 08 |  Cricket


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